At the West Point Barlett Hall Science Center sits a panel of bronze plaques, one of them displaying the image of a figure in a hood with “Ku Klux Klan” written underneath. According to The New York Times, the commission responsible for requesting that it be taken down decided not to because the plaque fell “out of its scope” of criteria for removal.
The Naming Commission announced Monday it has provided recommendations to the Department of Defense for the removal of assets commemorating the Confederacy located at US Military and Naval Academies. These assets include names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia. The report also includes recommendations for changing the names of nine Army bases. However, The Times reported this KKK plaque wasn’t included in the recommendations for removal because the commission said the hate group was founded following the Civil War.
Well…who do you think made the group in the first place besides former Confederate soldiers? Same old folks, just underneath pointy hoods.
More on the plaque removal from The New York Times:
A spokesperson for West Point said the academy is reviewing the recommendations made by the panel and will collaborate with the Defense Department and the U.S. Army to implement the approved changes.
“As a values-based institution, we are fully committed to creating a climate where everyone is treated with dignity and respect,” she said in an email.
“The reason that we put that in there was because we thought it was wrong,” said Ty Seidule, a retired brigadier general who serves as vice chair of the commission, referring to the flagging of the KKK plaque in the report. “When we find something that’s wrong, but it’s not within our remit, we wanted to tell the Secretary of Defense about that.”
The other two plaques above the entrance to the science hall specifically commemorate Confederate figures, including Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart, the commission found. They were recommended to be modified or removed.
The hesitancy behind the plaque removal doesn’t make much sense. The horrors of the Confederacy didn’t stop once the Civil War ended. It then manifested into the KKK, wreaking havoc and endless terrorism on Black communities. The Confederacy and the KKK were both supported by people who shared the same racist, white supremacist values.
New York Sen. Kirtsten Gillibrand and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney previously shared their support for the commission’s recommendations.
“I am supportive of the findings in the report and will continue working with the Naming Commission and D.O.D. to remove these harmful tributes that uphold the legacy of Confederate leaders who killed thousands of American service members in order to preserve the institution of slavery. It’s a disgrace and damaging to our nation,” said Gillibrand to The Times.
The Black people in the military, especially the young people, who willingly dedicate themselves to representing this country already know its history. They don’t need a plaque to remind them of it everyday.